Flynn Southam is ready to battle the big names at next month’s Australian Swimming Championships after breaking Olympian Kyle Chalmers’ Australian Age record in the 100m freestyle.
The young gun from Bond University clocked a 48.60 second dash at the Australian Age Swimming Championships in Adelaide last Thursday, shaving nine milliseconds off the 16 years 100m freestyle record set by Chalmers in 2015.
Chalmers recently took home silver in the 100m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics and is now among the world’s fastest freestyle swimmers in history.
Southam also threatened Ian Thorpe’s 1999 Australian Age record in the 200m freestyle with a fierce time of 1:46.77, just milliseconds behind the five-time Olympic gold medallist’s 1:46.00 best as a 16-year-old.
The rising star is excited to have started his Australian swimming career on similar footing as Chalmers and Thorpe but is determined to make a unique name for himself in the sport.
“It’s awesome that I’m on the same kind of trajectory as them timewise but we’ve got our different stories and I respect theirs a lot,” he said.
“Thorpie has been my idol pretty much since I was a little kid. I would have my face glued to YouTube watching replays of him race (at the Olympics) in 2000 and 2004, so it’s pretty cool to be mentioned in the same breath as him.
“That being said I’m still sticking to my own narrative and not trying to be like anyone else.”
Southam’s National Age warm-up comes ahead of the Australian Swimming Championships where he hopes to qualify for this year’s FINA World Swimming Championships and Commonwealth Games.
He sees these international competitions as stepping stones to fulfilling the ultimate green-and-gold dream of competing at the Olympic Games in 2024.
“Age was just like a trial run for me before Open Nationals which is the trial event,” he said.
“I definitely want to make the Worlds and Commonwealth Games teams next month, which I think is achievable and a really good goal for me.
“I just want to experience as much as I can because these next two years is all just a big lead up to Paris in 2024, and that’s the end goal at the moment. That’s what we are really focusing on and training for every day.
“I want to get on that senior team and experience what it’s like to be an Australian Dolphin, and represent my club and everyone that has helped me along the way.”
The Olympic hopeful was one of 12 Bond University swimmers who competed at the Australian Age Championships and contributed to the club’s tally of 17 medals, 25 final swims and top eight placing among the best performing age-group clubs in Australia.
Bond University’s Australian Age swimming team: Caitlin Allred (16), Cyra Bender (16), Mikayla Bird (14), Gideon Burnes (16), Kody Byrne (15), Jesse Coleman (17), Jamie Doran (16), Holly Hembling (14), Joshua Hibberd (15), Milla Jansen (15), Aveline Rounsley (15), Flynn Southam (16).